Imagine this scenario.
You are assigned case that involves an OJI (on-the-job injury). You set up a time to meet with this injured worker, but he stands you up. You make several phone calls and leave a number of messages hoping he’ll call you back. When he finally returns your call after several weeks, he is irascible, belligerent and altogether uncooperative. You try to gather as much information to corroborate what you have gleaned from his medical records, but you’re getting nowhere.
Does this sound familiar?
There is, of course, a simpler and far more effective solution to the above scenario. Enter the Nurse Case Manager or NCM.
The nurse case manager moves within the circle of medical care of the injured worker (IW), employer and employer insurance company. She helps develop a care plan suited to the patient; balancing the clinical, functional, vocational and often emotional aspects as part of a holistic approach to the workers compensation
(WC) driven medical care.
Reasons to Hire an NCM
There are several reasons why a NCM is critical to a WC case. And it should not matter if you are an adjuster, defense attorney or plaintiff attorney; EARLY involvement of a nurse case manager in a worker’s comp case and (if done properly by the NCM) can prove highly beneficial.
- Because the NCM is responsible for presenting the patient’s case and/or medical and vocational issues without bias, you can trust her professionalism and expertise, making it easier to gather information.
- By hiring an NCM early on, you can rest assured she will monitor the patient’s treatment plan and recovery over time.
- Nurse case managers spend considerable time with the patient/IW to properly assess their condition. They delve into the details of their lifestyle and develop a plan to help them get back on their feet, and hopefully back to work.
- When a NCM is brought on the case, she will analyze and assist with job/work environment issues while assisting with the other aspects of the case. In turn, this will reduce the costs incurred by the insurance company and ensure the patient is ready and able to return to work safely.
- Injured workers and patients see nurse case managers as caring and compassionate and are more likely to trust them and follow their advice. Hiring an NCM early on will give the patient/IW an opportunity to build a relationship with them thereby benefitting the patient, employer and the insurance company in the long run.
It’s never a mistake to hire a nurse case manager early on – only mistakes in which nurse case manager you hire.